Book Review: Josh Lanyon’s Death of a Pirate King

Posted September 17, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: Josh Lanyon’s Death of a Pirate King

Death of a Pirate King


Josh Lanyon

amateur sleuth, erotica that was published by MLR Press on September 13, 2008 and has 248 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Fatal Shadows, A Dangerous Thing, The Hell You Say, Dark Tide, Somebody Killed His Editor, Fair Game, Fair Play

Fourth in the Adrien English mystery series revolving around gay author/bookseller Adrien English and his unfortunate predilection for being around when murder is committed. Based in Pasadena.

My Take

Oh, this was just so bittersweet! Bitter in the aftermath of a love affair when you’re so angry that you cut all ties. Sweet in its progress and ending.

I do so love Lanyon’s Adrien English. He’s a sweet guy suffering all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in his overprotective and well-meaning mother; his newly acquired, overly interested stepsisters; and, Jake re-entering his life through yet another murder.

And it seems that Adrien is going to take arms against this sea of troubles which will indeed lead to a consummation devoutly wished. He certainly has plenty of food for thought with the revelations from Paul Kane, Jake’s attempts to talk to him, and his family’s excessive interest in his health.

Adrien’s still trying to understand his new stepsibs. As he points out, they’re “the nicest family in the world” and he’s just not used to people who are actually interested and…nice??

I love Lanyon’s writing as well. He’s interesting and pulls you right in with his characters — I want to say larger-than-life, but they’re not. They are simply interesting and intelligent people with their own quirks and personalities. They live everyday lives that just happen to include murder. The relationships he creates are true to life with all the ups and downs. The anger and frustration. The inability to let go. The pride. Then there are the snarky, literary comments. Too funny!

I can’t help wanting to know what happens next and I so want Adrien and Jake to get back together again.

The Story

Excited, but cautious about his first novel being optioned for a film, Adrien is enduring a luncheon with the Hollywood crowd who will be involved. Only to realize his past experience with murder will come in handy yet again when one of the guests falls over dead in his vichyssoise.

It’s a shock to see Jake again and somewhat less of a shock to realize Jake knows Paul Kane. Luckily, Adrien’s previous experiences have him prepared for the police interrogations to come.

What he’s not prepared for is Jake.

The Characters

Adrien English is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia and it’s created problems for his weakened heart. He’s currently in a two-year relationship with Guy Snowden, the professor he met in Hell You Say.

Lisa is his newly re-married mother. She’s always been worried about Adrien’s heart after that bout he had with rheumatic fever when he was sixteen. The marriage has brought him three new sisters: Lauren is the oldest and married to Beavis; Natalie is the middle sister (she has horrible taste in boyfriends) and now works for Adrien at his bookstore, Cloak and Dagger Books; and, Emma is his favorite and he indulges her with riding lessons. Councilman Bill Dauten is the new hubby.

Lieutenant Jake Riordan is with the LAPD and a Dominant indulging in BDSM with some of his male lovers. He has been married to Kate for two years, although Kate had a miscarriage. Still Jake is determined to have a family and since Adrien refuses to acknowledge him…

Detective Alonzo is in charge of the murder case and, pardon the pun, has a real hard-on for Adrien and then his lieutenant. To the point that he’s ridiculous.

Luncheon guests include:
Porter Jones is a wealthy investor in the movies, Paul Kane is an accomplished British actor who swings both ways, and Al January is a screenwriter. All three men have a long history together of pleasure and work. Valarie Rose is the potential director for Adrien’s book, Murder Will Out. Ally Beaton-Jones is Porter’s gold digger wife. Nina Hawthorne was the caterer and she had a history with both Porter and Paul.

Neither Dr. Cardigan nor Mr. Gracen seem to understand client confidentiality. Peter Verlane has been sprung from the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution. Seems someone was speaking up for him. Now he’s drawing a line in the sand with Adrien. Marla Vicenza is the first Mrs. Porter Jones. Mr. Markopoulos of Markopoulos Investigations is a private investigator hired by Porter.

Catching Up
Detective Paul Chan, Jake’s former homicide partner, is still attending the Partners in Crime author group that meets in Cloak and Dagger Books. He’s worried about Jake and Adrien and he’s disappointed that all the book publishers he’s contacted aren’t interested in a real look at police procedure. The Finches however have got an agent for their monstrosity much to Adrien’s dismay.

The Cover and Title

The lurid cover is a collage of Hollywood icons from film strip to clapper, the Hollywood sign wavering in the background, and the pirate king slashing his way to victory.

The title is so very appropriate as it does lead to the metaphorical Death of a Pirate King.